I Would Like to Talk About Why Life is so Unequal

Kathleen Wenaden is a mother, medic, pilgrim, and poet. She is a GP in Hackney, London, and is nourished by writing poetry. She is on Twitter/X: @Kathleenwenade1

I would like to talk about why life is so unequal.

Why my patients are biologically 15 years older than their age
What poverty and deprivation does to the body
How my patients’ trajectories are so different from yours and mine
How I have no idea at all what a black woman has been through in her life
Except that any male child of hers can still be stopped and searched
No idea what she has needed to fight for
How most of my patients will never leave Hackney, and see the sea
How I don’t want to be responsible for people’s medical problems any more
How I can’t do it, I’m not good at it, I’ve lost my compassion
How I’ve given too much of myself, stolen time away from me
How I don’t know what else I’ll do
How I don’t know how to stop practising medicine
How I don’t know where my life begins and ends
How much is expected of healthcare professionals
How I don’t think I’m cut out for this anymore, perhaps I never was
How I long to lay it down
How I long for a job with no responsibility
Which involves words and people, play and magic carpets
Wondering and wandering, bookshops or art galleries
Nature reserves, or perhaps even the Samaritans
Or being in sacred, holy, liminal spaces
Rather like that small consulting room in Hackney
with bars on the windows.

Featured photo by Rowan Freeman on Unsplash.

Poem updated on 9th November following amendments to print version.

The BJGP is the world-leading primary care journal. At BJGP Life we add multi-media comment and opinion for the primary care community.

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